LGBTQ Nation is reporting that novelist, journalist, and poet Patricia Nell Warren has died. The 82 year old author died on February 9th; the cause of death has not been released.

A writer of over ten books, it was Warren’s second novel The Front Runner (1974) that left a seismic cultural imprint. The Front Runner was one of the first contemporary gay themed novels to gain “mainstream” success. Making The New York Times bestselling list, the novel sold over 10 million copies. The controversial book told the story of a closeted gay track coach and his relationship with his younger, gay and out track star protegee.

Writing for Outsports, Cyd Zielgler noted:

Before the Internet, ‘The Front Runner’ for many was that secret look inside gay life. With their bedroom door closed, countless young men locked themselves away as they read this incredible story of gay love. For many, it was the first time they felt someone was telling a story about their personal feelings and emotions. For gay sports fans and athletes, it was the first piece of gay culture that reflected them and their passion.

In 1974, shortly after the publication of The Front Runner, Warren came out as a lesbian. Throughout her career she continued to publish gay themed novels (her book Billy’s Boy won a Lambda Literary Award in 1998), while also maintaining an active presence as a LGBTQ rights advocate.


Photo via Facebook.

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2 Responses to “Bestselling Author Patricia Nell Warren, 82, has Died”

  1. 16 February 2019 at 10:35 AM #

    Patricia Nell Warren was an accessible person, as well as a mentor to new and upcoming writers. Over the years, I also felt that we had become friends, and even though I only saw her in person three times, she came to stay with me and my partner back in the early 2000s, so that she could give talks and sign books in the area, while she was there, she also wrote a little bit of Billy’s Boy on my computer, to keep herself busy. But more important than my valued acquaintance with her was her massive impact on LGBTs, coming out, and I dare say it, the gay revolution/awakening. Of course, we all have our “front runner” stories to tell, it was just that kind of book with that kind of impact.

  2. 17 February 2019 at 11:22 PM #

    It is bewildering to me that I have seen a number of “queer cinema” movies that struck me as either pointless, overly reliant on stereotypes, or overly reliant on gratuitous sex, yet GLBT classics like “The Front Runner”, “City of Night”, etc. never made it to the silver screen. This lady tapped into something huge at a time when most gay men of my generation felt alone and without any support. I am saddened to hear of her passing.

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